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PlantFiles: Portuguese Squill, Caribbean Lily, Cuban Lily, Giant Squill, Hyacinth of Peru
Oncostema peruviana

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Family: Hyacinthaceae
Genus: Oncostema (on-koh-STEM-uh) (Info)
Species: peruviana (per-u-vee-AN-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Scilla peruviana

8 vendors have this plant for sale.

24 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Bulbs
Perennials
Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Height:
6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

Spacing:
3-6 in. (7-15 cm)
6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Danger:
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Medium Blue
Blue-Violet

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring

Foliage:
Deciduous
Blue-Green

Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 37 photos.
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Profile:

9 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive RosinaBloom On Oct 8, 2012, RosinaBloom from Waihi
New Zealand wrote:

This 'Scilla Puruviana' has many names, but I have always called it a 'Cuban Lily'. I have had great success and reward in growing this bulb-bearing, herbaceous perennial beauty in my gardens. It thrived in full sun, and the bulbs gradually formed big clumps.
I now have it growing just across the street from me, so I can go on enjoying it.

Positive vossner On Apr 27, 2012, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant is infrequently available in my area. Some years they are everywhere, including big box stores, other years, nothing! All mine were planted in the fall and none flowered the following spring. However, once they started blooming, they have done so reliably. I love this plant. Mine lives inground, in part sun and gets average water. The only thing I don't like is that it sure gets ugly after flowering. I leave it die naturally and foliage totally disappears until next spring but in the meantime, it is an ugly sight. For the first time this year I noticed seeds, so I've collected and replanted right in the same area in the hopes of havimg a big patch of scilla some day. There is also a white cultivar which, again, is infrequently available in my area.

Positive meintsm On Mar 8, 2010, meintsm from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

I purchased 5 plants in spring of 2009. They bloomed Ok the first year, four of the five survived and this year they are beautiful. Big and colorful and full of blooms. I have them planted in my bed that gets water twice a day in summer and twice a week in winter. They seem to tolerate hot weather very well. Would recommend for a warm weather climate that gets lots of sun.

Neutral Malus2006 On Jan 8, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

This plant is sold infrequently as a indoor plant, usually for a special event in the spring. I brought one and it blooms frequently for a few weeks during spring. Even thought I still have the plant, it didn't bloom again after the first year and it have been three years now.

Positive Opoetree On Aug 10, 2007, Opoetree from Oak View, CA wrote:

I recently acquired on of these and didn't even know what it was. I was intrigued by the blossoms...and they are wondrous! I fed the plant some Alaskan fish emulsion to promote blooming and it worked well. Does the 'scilla' name descend from the resemblance of the blossom structure to the 'Scylla' monster of Odyssey fame?

Positive co2robic On Nov 20, 2005, co2robic from McKinney, TX wrote:

S. peruvian not a reliable bloomer. I planted 2 bulbs in fall 2002 in my zone 7b garden, and for 2 years they did nothing but produce many healthy leaves. Spring 2005 was first bloom, and it was magnificent. 2 bulbs have now each produced a new plant. Will dig up 1 or 2 bulbs and try them in a warmer micro-environment than the zone 6b normally found in Buffalo, NY. If you are a sucker for blue flowers, there are few finer than this one.

Positive Hase1 On Jul 22, 2004, Hase1 from Denton, TX wrote:

I live in North Texas and seen one plant of the Cuban Lilly at one of the home improvement stores in spring of 2002. (If I see only one plant of a kind, I have to have it.) The tag gave the following info: "Sun to part shade. Ht. 6-18", space 8". This virtually evergreen perennial displays clusters of small star-shaped flowers of purplish-blue or white in early summer."

I bought the plant with 2 flowerheads of beautiful blue and planted it near my pond which receives full sun until about 1 pm in spring and 3 pm in summer (which is quite hot here). The tag didn't tell anything about hardiness, so I covered it if frost was expected. Doing so, only a few leaves wilted and the rest stayed green.

In very early spring new leaves emerged and within one month new flowerheads were visible. This time 3 and after the first 2 finished blooming, 2 more flowerheads came through. Very pretty, but the flowers don't last that long here, that's about the only negative thing about it.

One more thing; the tag revealed was that "it thrives in a moderately fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil. This species does not have a natural dormancy period, so withholding water in summer will allow it to go dormant and rejuvenate for next year." My lily will get water every time my sprinkler system comes on, so I do not withhold water at any time (except in winter when I don't water that often).

Update as of 4-22-05. I divided the main plant into 4 smaller ones. It has not flowered yet. (see review Happenstance)

Positive Nana27 On Jul 3, 2004, Nana27 from Anderson, CA wrote:

I have a Caribbean Lily that I purchased from a grocery store in a small pot about 2 years ago. It is now in a 23 gallon planter and doing quite nicely in my back yard. The only thing now is that I'm unsure how to divide it or store the bulbs for the summer. The planter is quite worn and the bulbs need to be divided and replanted ASAP. But, it's over 100 degrees here in Northern California and I'm afraid that I'll kill it. Any Ideas?

Neutral joie On Feb 29, 2004, joie wrote:

I bought a very dilapidated Caribbean lily in a somewhat horticulturally challenged mega-store. I live in a sunny New York City apartment. Do you think there is any chance of rehabilitating this plant. I'm a complete sucker for blue flowers which this had. Should I repot it? Let the foliage die back? Thanks for any help!

Positive Happenstance On Oct 26, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

Native to Western Mediterranean (Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Tunisia) this bulb-like perennial was named after the ship "The Peru" that first brought it to England from Spain.

Doesn't like to be moved which will retard flowering for a couple of seasons. Has a distinct cat-pee odor when leaves are damaged. Beautiful blue toned flower stalks, also comes in white - 'Alba'.

Spreads by divisions and seeds.

Gophers love this plant, needs a wire underground cage if your garden is visited by pocket gophers.

Positive Karenn On Oct 16, 2003, Karenn from Mount Prospect, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I live in zone 5a/4b, so to say I have been successful with this plant is quite an accomplishment! I purchased one last fall (it was listed as hardy only to zone 7 on the plant information sheet) as a "trial" because it was so unusual! I planted it up against the south side of my home along the furnace chimney, well protected from the winter sun/wind etc. almost dead-center of the back of the house, and screened by a trellis from the direct southern sun. It bloomed gloriously this spring, and the bloom lasted quite a few weeks! I am so impressed that I purchased two more this fall to plant alongside the first!

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Mesa, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Tempe, Arizona
Little Rock, Arkansas
Arroyo Grande, California
Clayton, California
Elk Grove, California
Encinitas, California
Fairfield, California
Huntington Beach, California
Oak View, California
Pasadena, California
Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Reseda, California
Sacramento, California
San Francisco, California
Sebastopol, California
Vista, California (2 reports)
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Shreveport, Louisiana
Liberty, North Carolina
Houston, Texas
Mc Kinney, Texas
Midland, Texas
Murchison, Texas
Richmond, Texas
Kalama, Washington
Lake Stevens, Washington



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